Green Lantern Corps #223 (1988)

Green Lantern Corps #223 (April, 1988)
“The Last Testament of the Green Lantern Corps!”
Story – Steve Englehart
Special Guest Artist – Gil Kane
Letters – Carrie Spiegle
Colors – Tony Tollin
Editor – Andy Helfer
Special Thanks – Todd Klein, Archivist
Cover Price: $0.75

Hey, don’t look now… but today is our 950th Daily Discussion!  Our last major “milestone” on our way to one-thousand.

Also today… we’re going to find out exactly what Sinestro was babbling about yesterday before buyin’ the farm!  I’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but this little excursion into Green Lantern past will be part of an upcoming episode of the Cosmic Treadmill… wherein we will cover Hal Jordan’s time as the “leading man” in Action Comics Weekly.  Figured it would behoove us to get everybody “up to speed” on the Corps before jumping on in!  The episode is shaping up to be a goodie and a biggie… might even become a series.  Expect it in the next couple of weeks!

With the plugging out of the way… let’s get some answers from the Battery!

We open on the… strange scene of Ch’p preparing to hang himself!  He’s still hung up (pardon the pun) on betraying the Lanterns to seek out more of his own with the B’rkrs.  Salaak stops him before he can take that final step… to deliver some more dire news: The Green Lantern Corps is dead!  This sends us into flashback land, more specifically, the closing panels of last issue… just moments after the Corps executed Sinestro.

The Corps has no idea what Salaak was talking about… so, he goes on to explain.  Worth noting here, that Kane drew John wearing his mask… which might be an indication of how well he was “following along” at home.  He’s only wearing his mask on this page though.  Anyhoo, in the far-flung future, where Salaak had been residing, he asked his wife Iona if she’d ever heard of the Green Lanterns.  She hadn’t.

And so, Salaak decided to visit the Oa of 5716.  He finds it barren and ruined… even the Central Power Battery is gone.  He cries out, asking what could have happened… and is shocked to receive an answer from the very sands of the planet itself.  The message he receives blames the fact that the Green Lanterns Killed Sinestro in 1988 for it’s current state… and the fact that there are no more Green Lanterns this far into the future.

Back in the present, the Lanterns are still befuddled.  Finally, Appa Ali Apsa pipes up… something Salaak said triggered a long dormant memory.  Before he can elaborate, however… the Central Power Battery fires off a terrific blast of light!

Hal decides to quit lollygagging with Salaak’s half-explanations, and go directly to the source.  He asks the Central Power Battery itself just what’s going on.  Before he can get an answer… stuff happens!  First, Driq the zombie Lantern (about twenty years before that became cool!) falls to pieces.  It’s explained that he was only being kept together by the power of his ring… and since he fell apart, that’s surely a sign that something’s up with the works.  As if the great big explosion wasn’t enough of an indicator.

Then… the Green Power wanes so low that the Sciencells are no longer effective!  Before we know it, the Lanterns are faced by a whole lotta baddies.

Amid the fight, several Lanterns’ power rings explode… and it looks like those remaining will not be able to count on their rings to win this one.  Hal orders the Corps to move the battle into the Museum Spoke… a place full of tchotchkes and doo-dads of Green Lantern lore… though, most importantly at this juncture… impregnable walls.  The Lanterns manage to lock the escapees inside and return to the Battery for some information.

Since the Battery is still mum, K’ryssma risks it all and enters a psychic trance in order to convey a little knowledge… it’s history lesson time!  You remember the Guardians, right?  Well, at some point ten billion years ago… they stopped dying!  And so, they left their home planet of Maltus… and flew to the center of the universe… to what is now called Oa.

There, they would create… the Manhunters.  Who, lemme tell ya, look an awful lot like Doctor Manhattan here.  While one group was creating the Manhunters, another was focusing their mental energies growing and shaping a green crystal… which would ultimately grow to become the Green Lantern Central Power Battery.

By this point, the Manhunters had proven to be a pretty bad idea… hell, we could’ve told ’em that.  And so, they were depowered… or made dormant… or turned “sleeper”, or however they explained it during Millennium.

From here, the Guardians’ heads grew larger… and their bodies smaller.  While they, the males of the species, turned their sights on creating the Green Lantern Corps, they became estranged from their wives and children.  And so, the women decided to leave!  This takes us up to just two-and-a-half billion years ago… so, we’re chuggin’ along at a pretty good pace!

The women would find themselves on Korugar… which, we know as the home planet to folks like Sinestro and Katma-Tui.  The immortal ladies would take the mortal Korugarians as lovers… and proceed to reproduce.

The Oan women would soon begin to hate their former lives… and former mates on Oa.  They would undergo “augmentations” in order to change their appearance… looking to have a redder hue like their new countryfolk.  This didn’t quite work, but did (somehow) result in the creation of the Star Sapphire.  The Oan women would travel to and conquer another planet… and become the warriors of Zamoran we now know.

Somewhere along the line, the Guardians of the Universe caught wind of this… and were pretty ticked off to have been replaced in bed by the Korugarians.  The Guardians held council to discuss what their next move would be, and it was ultimately decided that they are just feeling the stings of rejection… and it’s effecting their male egos.  And so, they decided to be diplomatic about the thing.  They made a vow that, regardless of provocation, they would never do anything worse than “confine” a Zamoran or Korugarian.  Ya follow?  To keep themselves “honest”, they ordered the Power Battery to “return to nothingness” if they ever crossed that line.  Wouldn’tcha know it, in killing Sinestro… they did break their own vow!

After that almighty info-dump, we arrive at our conclusion… the Old Timer finally remembers everything.  Soon, all that will be left of the Battery is… the yellow impurity… and then, all bets are off!

We jump from the death penalty straight into attempted ch’pmunk suicide.  Who sez comics are just for kids?

Sometimes I forget just how intensive Green Lantern lore can be.  I mean, you could almost make a college course out of it… and I’m not talking a 101 class… I feel like we’re at least at the 300 level here.  There’s just so much to it… so much of it is repetitive… but, then they surprise ya with a new nugget of information!

So, what we have here is… the Guardians made a vow never to kill a Korugarian or Zamoran.  In order to keep them to their word, they built a “failsafe” into the Central Power Battery, wherein the Green energy would dissipate to nothing should they cross that line.  In killing Sinestro, that line was crossed… and so, the Central Power Battery (just following orders) will winnow down to only the Yellow Impurity.  I think that’s it, in the shell of a nut.

I suppose that’s as good an excuse to wrap up the Corps as any, right?  Worth noting, that while this isn’t the final issue of the volume… it is the final story written by Steve Englehart.  Wonder if that explains why this issue felt so packed with exposition and information.  Steve’s just tryin’ to “get his stuff in” before walking away.

As far as “story” is concerned… I mean, outside of the revelation there isn’t all that much to talk about.  I guess, Ch’p trying to hang himself is a thing.  I’m unsure whether or not this entire issue was just Salaak relaying the events to him, or if that was just a way to bring us back into the action.  I suppose that might become a bit clearer in the next issue.

Gil Kane’s art here is pretty good.  I kinda run hot and cold with his later work, but for the most part, I dug this.  There was that little gaff of John wearing his mask… but, whattayagonnado?

Overall… an important issue for Green Lantern lore… how much of it is still in continuity, I couldn’t hazard a guess.  If you’re into the lore, you’re going to really dig this.  Heck, even if you’re lore-curious (lorious?), there’s plenty here to wrap your noggin around.  Worth grabbing!

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